Skip to main content

In apparent response to growing international pressure, the author of a bill that would stiffen Uganda's already strict criminal penalties against homosexuality has announced that the death penalty provision has been removed.

Parliamentarian David Bahati said the bill, which is expected to be voted on next month, had "moved away from the death penalty after considering all the issues that have been raised."

"There is no death penalty," he told The Associated Press.

Bahati said the bill now focuses on protecting children from gay pornography, banning gay marriage, counseling gays, as well as punishing those who promote gay culture. Jail terms are prescribed for various offenses, he said, offering no details.

The BBC reported last week that the death penalty provision has been removed.  However, this is the first word from the bill's author.  

An amended version hasn't been released yet, so hopefully Bahati isn't pulling the international community's leg.

Bahati originally said the law as originally written was needed to toughen a colonial-era law against sodomy.  But apparently there were some pretty strenuous objections to a death penalty for homosexual acts within Uganda as well, per a member of a parliamentary committee working on the bill.

One of the members, Krispus Ayena, said Friday that some parliamentarians spoke strongly against certain provisions in the bill as well as the death penalty itself.

"There was a dissenting voice in the committee," Ayena said. "They argued very forcefully that we should not do a thing like that: to regulate what goes on in bedrooms. First of all, is it practicable to regulate that? And there are those who say this is very oppressive."

We can only hope that it is true.  But if it is, it's nothing less than a major victory.  As odious as the bill still is on paper, sending people to death just for being gay would have been absolutely barbaric.

9:25 PM PT: Proof of just how odious this bill still is--a provision in the bill which absolves "victims of homosexuality" from punishment for any crimes committed as a result of "involvement in homosexuality."  According to several commenters, it's a "stand your ground" clause that could easily give a person license to kill anyone whom he or she believes is making a gay pass at them.  

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site